factory orders

Official name: Preliminary Report on Manufacturers' Shipments, Inventories, and Orders.

What exactly? A measure of shipments (sales), inventories and orders at the manufacturing level.

Source: Census Bureau

Frequency: Monthly

Released when? During the first week of the month at 8:30 a.m. Eastern. Data for two months prior.

Market importance:Little. Hardly ever moves markets. Not timely. Considered old news. Total factory orders break down into 57% durable and 43% nondurable -- and durable goods orders are reported on an advance basis a week earlier.

Other notes:The manufacturing inventory numbers in this report are used -- along with inventories at the wholesale and the retail levels -- to calculate aggregate business inventories.

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